North, South or Central Jersey – What does the government say?


North Jersey, South Jersey or Central Jersey – are governmental regulations needed? 

I’ve previously advanced the following proposal – There are three regions in New Jersey– North, South and Central Jersey, each containing seven counties. Also discussed was what some other people are saying. For example, of the people surveyed by Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey almost half felt that Trenton Princeton and Red Bank were in South Jersey.  Twenty Five to Twenty nine percent of this same group said Flemington and Lambertville were also in South Jersey (of course 28% of the people surveyed hadn’t heard of either of these towns). Since New Jerseyans seem so unclear about the location of these boundaries, I’ll need to look for answers from an authoritative source – the government.

Now, we in New Jersey all know that the state government and sometimes the federal and local governments want to regulate almost every aspect of our daily lives. Certainly they must have created a statute or regulation that defines these regional boundaries.   As an engineer, I have the privilege of working with many departments in the state bureaucracy – Transportation, Environmental Protection and Community Affairs to name a few.


NJDOT South Region

NJDOT North Region

NJDOT Central Region

The NJ Department of Transportation Says:

Starting with the Department of Transportation, we find that they have divided the state into three regions, North, South or Central Jersey. They agree with me about the South Jersey Region but have given Union County to North Jersey and reserved a small portion of Warren County for Central Jersey.




But the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Areas Disagree:

Next we have three metropolitan transportation planning organizations – North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), not North, South or Central Jersey as one would anticipate. These groups have a large say in how funds for transportation projects are distributed around the state. These groups seem to look at things very differently. NJTPA lays claim to 13 of the 14 counties that make up North and Central Jersey as I see it.  SJTPO includes Cumberland, Atlantic, Cape May and Salem Counties but not Burlington, whose voters also opted for secession in a 1980 referrendum.  I thought that only the most radical of South Jersey residents would strike the northerly border of their region at the south edge of Gloucester County. Even more curious is that  Mercer, Burlington Camden and Gloucester Counties are lumped together with alien counties in Pennsylvania.

North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization










The Division of Travel and Tourism adds a new wrinkle:

NJ Division of Tourism Regions

The Department of State’s Division of Travel and Tourism has added more fuel to the fire by partitioning the state into six regions – as if the debate wasn’t heated enough already. These include the Skylands and Gateway in the north, the Delaware River and Jersey Shore Regions in the center and the Atlantic City and Southern Shore Region at the lower latitudes.


The Departments of Community Affairs and Environmental Protection muddy the waters further:

NJ Geologic Map

The Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards develops and enforces the NJ Uniform Construction Code. They create different regions of the state for determining how to design buildings for wind loads, snow loads and radon gas.


The NJDEP seems to look at things like geological and watershed zones. Both the NJDEP and NJDCA maps tend to create zone lines that run from the southwest to the northeast. This is getting a bit complicated. We better stick with Transportation and Tourism.


Of course transportation in New Jersey means tolls – at least in my neck of the woods.

Now what I’d really like is if  I could find a map that shows which county’s residents pay the most in tolls. I’m pretty sure that those guys in the northwestern portion of the state are making out like bandits. After all. Passaic, Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon and Somerset Counties have no toll roads. How sweet is that?


The author, Carl E. Peters is one of fewer than 10 people licensed by the State of New Jersey as a Professional Engineer, Professional Land Surveyor, Professional Planner, Construction Official, Building Subcode Official and Plumbing Subcode Official. He is also a Certified Municipal Engineer and Mediator and founder of Carl E. Peters, LLC